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Men’s Mental Health Awareness: Breaking the Stigma During Divorce and Child Custody Cases
Men’s Mental Health Awareness: Breaking the Stigma During Divorce and Child Custody Cases

Did you know that June is Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month? Every year the month of June marks a period of time to bring special awareness to the mental health struggles that men commonly face. Unfortunately, this issue is highly underreported, and because of societal pressure, men and boys are less likely to reach out for help and support when they need it.

In 2021, the CDC reported that the suicide rates among men were nearly four times higher than those of women, and men made up 80% of all suicides in the United States. Even though we are making significant progress toward destigmatizing mental health issues, it is still far too common for men to suffer in silence as opposed to getting help, because they see it as a sign of weakness or lack of masculinity.

Legal issues pertaining to their family, such as divorce and custody matters, can greatly impact a man’s mental health and sense of self-worth. Divorce can lead to an increased risk of anxiety, substance abuse, depression, and suicide, as can custody battles.

As a family law firm that is dedicated to protecting the rights of men and ensuring their perspective is acknowledged, we cannot ignore the role that divorce and custody cases play in men’s mental health. In this blog, we will shed light on men’s mental health issues so that we can do our part to break the stigma, as well as offer support and resources for those who are navigating the complex realm of divorce and custody.

The Emotional Toll Of Divorce And Custody On Men

Divorce and custody matters can be incredibly challenging for men, as they often bring a wave of intense emotions. Common emotional challenges include feelings of loss, failure, anger, and a profound sense of loneliness. Because men have traditionally been taught to remain stoic and resilient, they may be hesitant to express these emotions openly, leading them to manifest as mental health symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and heightened stress levels.

The end of a marriage can trigger an immense sense of loss, not only in terms of the relationship but also regarding their sense of identity, purpose, and future plans. They may also feel as if they have failed their children and experience internalized resentment at playing a part in breaking up their family home.

These mental health challenges can be exacerbated by societal norms and expectations regarding masculinity, as the pressure to conform to traditional gender roles may hold them back from being vulnerable or seeking professional help. Recognizing these signs is crucial for seeking timely help and support in order to process and cope with the emotional fallout of divorce and custody.

Unfortunately, many men are able to mask their symptoms and instead choose to grin and bear it, all while they are suffering. In some cases, though, a pattern of abnormal behavior or sudden change in everyday functioning could be a cause for alarm. These symptoms include:

  • Sleep or appetite changes
  • Mood changes
  • Sudden social withdrawal
  • Drop in functioning
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
  • Heightened sensitivity or constant over-stimulation
  • Severe apathy, and
  • Other behavior that seems contrary to their usual behavior.

Navigating Child Custody Battles

Child custody battles introduce their own unique set of stressors. Men may fear losing contact with their children, experience overwhelming financial pressures, and have difficulty navigating the nuances of complex laws and family court. These stressors can significantly exacerbate existing mental health issues, leading to increased anxiety, depression, and stress.

It’s crucial to understand how these challenges impact mental well-being. A strong legal advocate plays a vital role in alleviating this stress, providing guidance based on experience, and ensuring that a fathers’ rights are upheld throughout the process. With the right support, men can better manage the emotional toll of custody disputes and focus on maintaining a strong relationship with their children.

Breaking The Stigma And Seeking Help

One of the first – and most crucial – first steps of breaking the stigma around mental health is encouraging men to talk about what they are going through. Stigma, by definition, causes people to be ashamed of something that is out of their control, and worst of all, prevents them from seeking the help they need. As men struggling with divorce, custody, and their mental health already carry such a heavy burden, their pain is unnecessarily worsened by the cruel judgment of others.

Breaking the stigma means:

  • Talking openly about mental health
  • Educating yourself and others
  • Being conscious of your language (i.e., not insinuating that this is a “phase” or something that can be easily overcome if only they “tried harder”)
  • Encouraging equality between physical and mental health
  • Choosing to embrace and fixate on empowerment, rather than shame
  • Being honest about treatment
  • And more!

Professional mental health support, such as therapy and counseling, are also immensely beneficial for men struggling to talk about what they are going through or the emotions they are experiencing. Support groups (both online and local) can also connect them with other men going through similar struggles, reinforcing the notion that they are not alone and there is a community of individuals they can relate to.

The Role Of Legal Support In Managing Mental Health During Divorce And Custody Cases

Securing the right legal support is vital during divorce and custody cases, particularly for men facing unique mental health challenges. Choosing a lawyer who understands and is sensitive to men’s issues can make a significant difference in navigating these complex processes. Men’s divorce and custody lawyers can provide tailored advice and strategic representation that ensures a man’s rights and interests are protected.

Additionally, various legal resources, including organizations such as the Children’s Rights Council, The National Parents’ Organization, The Fathers’ Rights Movement, The Fathers’ Rights Network, and more offer specialized support for men going through divorce and custody battles. These resources can provide valuable information, guidance, and community support, helping men to manage the legal and emotional aspects of their cases more effectively.

We All Have A Role To Play In Breaking The Stigma Around Men’s Mental Health. Contact The Men’s Divorce Law Firm Today To Get The Support You Need!

Every member of our team is not only committed to helping our clients resolve their immediate legal needs, but also supporting their emotional and mental health while we do so. If you are a man facing divorce or custody and find yourself unsure of where to turn, you can turn to us. We will listen to your story without casting judgment or placing blame, then connect you with any resources we think could benefit you. Remember, it’s okay to not be okay! Call today to book your consultation and learn more about how we can serve you.